Hey, “99-percenter fan”! Who priced you out of a baseball game? Meet “Bud’s Bandito Barons”
If you are part of the 99% of baseball fans who can no longer afford to take your family to a Major League Baseball ™ game, you might be interested to know who stole the Majors from your life.
“Bud’s Bandito Barons” are a gang of Richie Rich’s, who rake in huge profits with luxury boxes, exorbitant ticket prices, high parking fees, over-priced food, and way over-priced beer. This clique of “One-Percenter” millionaires are sitting up in their air-conditioned luxury boxes, sipping martinis, and gazing down on the hoi polloi with a noblesse oblige disdain.
Introducing, some of the “Hoity toity” few and “Captains of Industry” who own the MLB™ teams:
Boston Red Sox™ : “John Henry, the team’s majority owner, purchased the franchise in 2002 with the earnings from his commodities futures trading company. Hedge funds, of course, have produced some of the worst excesses in an industry notorious for them, while arguably producing little of merit for society. But there are probably worse ways to make your money than what Slate’s Matt Yglesias calls “a scam where one class of rich people rips off another class of rich people.”*
To obtain the Red Sox franchise Henry played Selig’s game of “Three Card Monty” with Montreal, which resulted in him making out on the sale of the Marlins to Loria, which [act surprised] allowed him to purchase the Red Sox. And [act surprised] allowed Luria to dump the Expos on MLB and buy the Marlins.
Selig had tried to simply fold the Twins and the Expos and walk away from those cities, but a court upheld the Metrodome owners Twins’ lease and blocked “Butt Sealing’s” master plan. To circumvent the spirit and letter of the court, Selig moved on the Montreal’s team; he convinced the owners to buy the Expos. Selig got it cheap, sold it high to Loria.
"Q: What became of that $230 million dollar profit?"
July 24, 2012
“Investigators for the Securities and Exchange Commission have determined that the city misled investors about just how broke it was before shopping bonds to float city projects, and are recommending civil fraud charges.”
New York Yankees™ : The Steinbrenner brothers’ father, shipping magnate George, was banned from baseball twice—once for paying a gambler to spy on his own player, and once for attempting to cover up illegal donations to Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign. Current Yanks owners Hal and Hank haven’t given anything to candidates. They did, however, manage to copyright the expression “Evil Empire™ .”*
In early February, a US Patent and Trademark Office™ court in Washington, DC, confirmed what baseball fans had suspected for more than a century: The New York Yankees are evil. After an internet startup, Evil Empire Inc., had attempted to trademark the phrase “Baseball’s Evil Empire,” the Yankees filed an injunction, and the panel of judges agreed. As the court put it, “The record shows that there is only one Evil Empire™ in baseball and it is the New York Yankees.”*
Chicago White Sox™ : “Jerry Reinsdorf made his fortune as a real estate developer who specialized in building tax shelters. [Has] a sweetheart deal that allows him to pay just 25 percent of the standard property tax rate for the United Center (home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls™ , which he also owns). Reinsdorf also threatened to move the White Sox unless the city and state agreed to build it a new $125 million stadium on the South Side. In March, he teamed up with a former Secret Service director, a top aide to Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, and a private prison lobbyist to launch SRB2K LLC, billed as a global security firm.”*
Houston Astros™ : Jim Crane’s company, Eagle Global Logistics, was forced to pay the federal government more than $4.3 million to settle charges of war profiteering related to contracts in Iraq. In 2001, Eagle paid a $9 million settlement after an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation found rampant racial and gender discrimination at the company. (Among other things, the agency’s report included an allegation that Crane had told subordinates, “Once you hire blacks, you can never fire them.”)*
Kansas City Royals™ : In 1992, when he was still president and CEO of Walmart, David Glass was confronted by NBC’s Dateline with evidence of child labor at a T-shirt factory in Bangladesh. His response: “You and I might, perhaps, define children differently.” As Glass explained, looks can be deceiving—Asians are short. Then he ended the interview. Meanwhile, as the Royals’ owner he’s pocketed profits without making any discernible investment in the on-field product. He also once revoked press credentials of reporters who asked critical questions.*
Minnesota Twins™ : Jim Pohlad, a Minneapolis banker, hasn’t had much time to prove himself after inheriting the franchise from his late father, Carl—who was infamous for volunteering to kill off the team in exchange for $150 million from Major League Baseball. That is, until Hennepin County ponied up $350 million for a new stadium.*
Atlanta Braves™ : Liberty Media started as a spin-off of cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI). Its chairman, John Malone, currently owns more land than any other American—2.1 million acres.*
Chicago Cubs™ : Remember the plan hatched last year by Cubs family patriarch Joe Ricketts to defeat the “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln” (a.k.a. Barack Obama)? ‘Nuff said. The Ricketts family, which owns the team through a trust…*
Colorado Rockies™ : From the family that brought you factory farms and coked-up cattle! Charlie and Dick Monfort helped run the eponymous Big Ag empire until 1987. That’s when family patriarch Kenneth Monfort sold out to ConAgra, and the Monfort boys became ConAgra execs. Kenneth made his fortune by busting the union that served his workforce and replacing union workers with immigrant laborers—many of them undocumented.*
Los Angeles Dodgers™ : Lead owner Mark Walter’s financial house, Guggenheim Partners, is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission over his ties to former junk bond trader Michael Milken.*
Miami Marlins™ : Jeffrey Loria, the millionaire art dealer and Charlie Brown-as-philosophy author, is widely considered the worst baseball owner of his generation. The Marlins’ boom-and-bust cycles were already diminishing the team’s shaky South Florida fanbase when along came the Miró-inspired Marlins Park. Built last year with $474 million in public financing, the deal, which will end up costing Miami-Dade County $1.1 billion, has made Loria the second least popular person in South Florida (behind Fidel Castro), according to one 2012 poll. Carlos Gimenez, who parlayed his opposition to the stadium deal into a successful run for Miami-Dade mayor, described Marlins Park to Sports Illustrated‘s S.L. Price as “the gift that keeps on giving.”*
New York Mets™ : The Mets’ stadium sold its naming rights to Citigroup in 2006 for $400 million, a few years before the bank had received $45 billion in TARP money.*
San Francisco Giants™ : Charles B. Johnson, a mutual-funds baron and the 211th-richest person in the world according to Forbes, spent some $200,000 to try to defeat California’s Proposition 30, the sales and income tax increase that included elements of the state’s millionaire’s tax initiative.*
Seattle Mariners™ : Hiroshi Yamauchi is the former president and chairman of Nintendo, and the man responsible for introducing the world to Pokémon—even though he can’t stand video games. Or even baseball: He has been the owner of the Mariners for the last two decades, but has never once been to a game.*
Toronto Blue Jays™ : The Jays are one of only two Major League teams owned entirely by corporations. In this case, it’s the Canadian telecom giant Rogers Communications.*
“The National Pastime is flourishing thanks to cable companies’ desire for live baseball programming.
The average Major League Baseball team rose 16% in value during the past year, to an all-time high of $605 million. In 2011, [team] revenue climbed to an average of $212 million, a 3.4% gain over the previous season.
Aggregate cable television revenue increased to $923 million from $328 million over the past 10 years. And thanks to new television deals inked by teams like the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Texas Rangers that have yet to kick in, as well as the pending deal for the San Diego Padres and a likely new, rich deal that will begin in 2014 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, local television revenue could exceed $1.5 billion in 2015.
The richer television deals are evident in the prices that are being paid for teams.”
"But, hey Mr. Small Business man, hold it right there!"
“WBBM in Chicago pitches up foul news that baseball teams in the town of Tinley Park had to face a financial ultimatum from Bud Selig’s office over their uniforms – pay to use their names & logos, or pay for it in court.
A local company called SportStation had been supplying the Tinley Park teams with their baseball duds. Even though the unis didn’t sport any official logos, they did feature names like “Cubs™ ”, “White Sox™ ”, “Phillies™ ”, etc.
But apparently even just words were too much for the Major Leagues:
Late last year, SportStation received a letter from MLB™, noting that not only the logos but the team names were trademarked. The letter ordered the company to stop producing the uniforms.
But, the kids are welcome wear MLB apparel, provided they buy the jersey from Majestic Athletic™ , official apparel supplier to Major League Baseball™ , which doesn’t even include the expected MLB™ licensing fees.”
"Way to promote the game to future generations, Bud!"
“Those kids put trademarked names on their jerseys without paying. You know what we call that in this country? Theft!… You see, they don’t want this kind of criminality sullying the good things about baseball. These kids aren’t just stealing team names, they’re ripping off all kinds of stuff from the majors. Where do these kids get the idea of using a mitt? Or wearing a cup?”
He then goes on to take it to the logical extreme, explaining why the press should stop mentioned Major League Baseball altogether to avoid infringing.”
If you are a fan of the game of baseball and you are in the 99% of Americans who can no longer afford to contribute to the profits of “Buds Bandito Barons,” here is a link to Minor League Baseball™ teams and schedules.
And, when you buy your tickets and a beer for a much lower price at a Minor League park, lift that brew, whatever the brand, and give a toast to Commissioner Selig:
"“The…Bud’s…for you!™ ”"
* This article in Mother Jones was the inspiration for this post and we offer great thanks to for providing the bulk of the information to the three authors:
Tim Murphy is a reporter at Mother Jones. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com. RSS | Twitter
Ian reports on immigration, sports, and Latin America for Mother Jones. Got a comment or a tip? Email him: igordon [at] motherjones [dot] com. RSS | Twitter
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